Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc, Austin, Tex, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, Stratford, Conn, have partnered to improve the provision of prosthetic care to amputees in Colombia.

Due to decades of conflict, Colombia has experienced a large number of landmine victims. With more than 7,700 landmine survivors registered since 2002, the need for accessible prosthetic care is high. While the Colombian government has made strides in reducing the number of landmines, the development of an indigenous infrastructure for the provision of prosthetic treatment to the survivors is lagging and the government of Colombia has asked for assistance from the international community.

 In response, Hanger Orthopedic Group and Sikorsky have collaborated to improve Colombian prosthetic services through two initiatives–the clinical education and training of Colombians interested in becoming prosthetists and technicians, and the implementation of a comprehensive in-country clinic to help alleviate the backlog of amputees needing prosthetic intervention.

Early program efforts are focusing on training and development, while the next phase will include the delivery of Hanger’s products and services in Colombia. Sikorsky is providing four scholarships to Colombian students to attend Hanger’s Newington Certificate Program for Prosthetics where the students are completing an intensive 9-month course and internship preparing them as qualified clinicians trained in patient assessment, prosthetics fitting, and socket/limb fabrication. The first two students are enrolled at the Newington Certificate Program and will return to work in the Central Military Hospital Prosthetics Laboratory in Colombia in the summer of 2011. Expert prosthetists from Hanger will return with the students to Colombia to provide prosthetic treatment and devices to Colombian amputees in a comprehensive in-country clinic.

[Source: Hanger Orthopedic Group]